Local Spotlight: Cradles to Crayons
This week, Erik & Randal chat with Karen Grant, VP of Development for Cradles to Crayons. We had a blast at Cradle to Crayons' Giving Factory and we hope you will join us in donating any of your unused items for our Holiday Drive! Each item donating goes to enrich the lives of kids in underserved communities throughout Massachusetts.
Randal: All right. Welcome back to Stay Focused. This week, we're somewhere different. We're at Cradles to Crayons. And we're here with Karen Grant, who is a Vice President of Development here. I don't know if you guys remember, but last year we did a fundraiser and a fund drive for these guys for things over the holidays, and we wanted to do that again this year. To kind of kick it off, we wanted to chat with you guys here.
Karen: First of all, thank you both so much for coming out this afternoon and to really see everything that we do here. So, right behind us, you can see lots of packages and those are raw goods. So lots of shirts and pants and PJs and socks that are waiting to be packaged up and given to kids.
Karen: Here at Cradles to Crayons, we serve kids from birth to 12 and we provide them with the essential items that they need. There's something that we've coined here at Cradles to Crayons called Clothing Insecurity. So it's really a hidden crisis, not only in Massachusetts, but across the country. So a lot of the families that we serve, they're living in low-income and poverty situations, and there's not other federal assistance. So, if you don't have the means to pay your rent or you're choosing between groceries, and you need to get your kid a winter coat, there's nowhere else for you to go.
Karen: And so, we work with service providers, social workers, over 130 of them here in Massachusetts alone, and they get in touch with us and they let us know when they meet a family that has a need, and in partnership, we're able to serve 145,000 kids over the course of our fiscal year.
Randal: Wow. Now, is that just in the state of Massachusetts?
Karen: That is just in Massachusetts.
Erik: 145,000 kids get your services.
Randal: No kidding.
Erik: It's great.
Karen: And sadly, the need is greater, so there are roughly about 270,000 kids who actually need our services. So we still have a lot of work ahead of us.
Erik: There's still that gap of underserved kids in need.
Karen: Exactly. Exactly.
Randal: And this is a much bigger operation than I was expecting. It's enormous.
Karen: People usually are surprised by it. It is a warehouse. Lots of recycled items that we get from the Greater Boston community. So we have lots of folks who donate items directly to us here, or they'll donate items in drop bins throughout the Greater Boston area, so we have close to 40 of those around town.
Erik: That are going year round?
Karen: Year round. Year round. So if you went to our website at cradlestocrayons.org and you can just put in your zip code and you could find out the location of the nearest drop off bin.
Erik: That's awesome. Yeah.
Randal: Awesome. And you guys are year round. This is a year-round thing. We tend to think of many of these organizations during the holidays ... Sorry.
Karen: That's okay.
Randal: We should be thinking of them more often, but this is something that happens for you guys year round.
Karen: It is year round.
Erik: And the need is year round.
Karen: Exactly. The need is year round, and so for us, the kids that we serve, they need seasonably appropriate clothing. So in the wintertime, we're giving them winter coats, winter boots, hats, and mittens-
Erik: Gloves, yeah.
Karen: ... gloves. But then in the summertime when school ends, we're giving them shorts and tank tops. It really is a seasonal need and we forget how quickly kids grow.
Erik: So, great. We'll put that word out and we'll repeat this to all our viewers so that we are doing the drive, so our drive at Focus Real Estate. We will be having a drop off all through the end of November and into the middle of December and we will be doing a pickup for our viewer as well on December 15th. Anyone who can't make it into the drop-off, just drop us a line or give us a call, and we'll come to your home and do a pickup for Cradles to Crayons.
Randal: And now, where can our viewers find some more information about the organization and what you're looking for now?
Karen: Definitely, to learn more about the work that we're doing and the kids that we serve, visit cradlestocrayons.org. Also, with end-of-year coming, we accept financial donations as well.
Karen: So do keep us in your thoughts if you're doing some end-of-year giving plans.
Erik: That's great.
Randal: Excellent. Excellent.
Erik: Cradlestocrayons.org. Great.
Randal: And if somebody is just in the neighborhood, where are you located? They can just drop it off directly here.
Karen: Oh my goodness, definitely. So we're right here in Brighton Landing, 155 North Beacon Street, so come on by. We're open seven days a week.
Erik: And they're very friendly.
Karen: We try.
Erik: Very welcoming. Yeah.
Karen: Thank you.
Randal: Well, thank you, Karen. Thanks for joining us. Is there anything else you wanted to share with the viewers before we go?
Karen: Just an appreciation for you guys helping us raise awareness of our work. So many people are familiar with our work, but there are so many folks who don't know what we do. And in order for all this to happen, it takes a community to help to do it, so thank you.
Randal: Well, thank you.
Erik: One other thing I want to ask for, volunteers. Do you need volunteers?
Karen: Oh my goodness, all of this is run on volunteer power.
Erik: Right, and it's a big organization so you need help.
Karen: We usually run two volunteer shifts a day and each volunteer shift has anywhere from 100-150 volunteers. So that 300 volunteers a day that come through the doors helping us process all these donations.
Erik: Wow. Great and they can signup online?
Karen: Online. Cradlestocrayons.org.
Erik: Great. Thank you so much, Karen.
Randal: And thanks for the work that you do for the community.
Karen: Oh, thank you.
Erik: And we want to keep supporting such a great organization. Thank you.
Karen: You're welcome. Thank you both so much.
Erik: Yeah, you're welcome.
Karen: Thank you.
Randal: Well, thank you, everybody, for watching today. Don't forget to like us on Facebook.
Erik: And subscribe to our YouTube channel.
Randal: Until next time. Stay Tuned and Stay Focused.
Erik: Stay Tuned and Stay Focused.